Christmas tree cataract is a rare type of cataract that appears as branching opacities in the lens of the eye

Christmas tree cataract is a rare type of cataract that appears as branching opacities in the lens of the eye, resembling the shape of a Christmas tree. This type of cataract is often associated with certain inherited genetic conditions, including myotonic dystrophy.

Myotonic dystrophy is a genetic disorder that affects multiple body systems, including the muscles, heart, eyes, and nervous system. It is caused by a mutation in the DNA that affects the production of a protein that is essential for normal muscle function. The disease is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, meaning that a person only needs to inherit one copy of the mutated gene from one parent to develop the condition.

In myotonic dystrophy, Christmas tree cataract is a common finding and can occur in up to 80% of affected individuals. The cataracts usually develop in the third or fourth decade of life and can cause visual disturbances such as glare, halos, and reduced visual acuity. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the cataract and improve vision.

It’s important to note that while Christmas tree cataract is strongly associated with myotonic dystrophy, not all people with myotonic dystrophy will develop cataracts, and not all cases of Christmas tree cataract are associated with myotonic dystrophy. A thorough eye examination by an eye care professional is needed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment plan.